15-hour play to open in Denver in 2000

'Tantalus' chronicles entire Trojan War

"Tantalus" is a colossal play in every sense of the word: The 15-hour production has been 15 years in the making.

In the fall of 2000, the Denver Center Theatre Company (DCTC) - in collaboration with London's Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), which commissioned the play and nurtured playwright John Barton for the past 15 years - will present a 10-play cycle of the Trojan War chronicle.

Fifteen hours of theater presented over a weekend or over two days of afternoon and evening performances may sound daunting.

The way has been paved , at least in part, by episodic plays like "Angels in America," "The Kentucky Cycle," and "The Cider House Rules." Granted, they are only about half as long.

But then, none of these plays takes on themes half so large as the Trojan Wars.

Just as David Mamet's "Boston Marriage" and Tony Kushner's "Angels in America," which were presented in unique formats and nurtured by regional theaters, have influenced other playwrights, the extraordinarily lengthy, groundbreaking "Tantalus" is likely to influence playwrights and regional theaters for years to come.

The cast will be drawn from both the DCTC and the RSC and from around the world. From Denver, the production will travel to London, and then head on to Greece and other European venues. The RSC's founding director, Sir Peter Hall, will direct the Denver production.

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